Tag: websites

Don’t Neglect Your Website

Analytics, Digital Strategy6 Comments

An Avinash Kaushik quote that I find myself repeating almost daily is “Don’t write cheques in social media that your website can’t cash.”

While I 100% agree with what Avinash is saying, I’d go even further and say don’t write cheques period that your website can’t cash. Simply put, your website (or ‘home base’) is probably the most valuable weapon in your marketing arsenal. It’s rare to see a marketing campaign these days (unless it’s purely branding) where the website isn’t at the heart.

Despite that, so many marketers, seduced by the perceived ease and reach of social media (Hint: it’s bloody hard, and reach is an illusion – you will never connect with all 600m denizens of Facebook), neglect their website or blindly continue plugging away with traditional tactics that, ironically enough, send people to poorly constructed landing pages and websites.

Landing pages and indeed websites are the front door(s) to your business, so why spend big bucks on acquiring traffic when all you’re doing is sending them to the online equivalent of a Soviet Gulag?

Here are 7 tips to keep in mind next time you’re planning your digital campaign and landing pages:

  1. Have a clear objective in mind. Know exactly what you want a visitor to do when they arrive at your page. That can be something like filling in a form, downloading a PDF or watching a video.
  2. Make sure you can track it. Whichever analytics package you are using, setup a goal for each macro and micro objective. If it’s something like watching a video or any other interaction, you might need to work with your web developer  to put in the proper code so you can do this.
  3. Design it effectively and align it with your objective. Landing pages should never, ever look like just another page on your website. They are a key conversion point that determine whether a visitor is going to go deeper into your site, buy your widget or handover their details. Not only must it look good and appeal to your customers, but it has to drive conversions.
  4. Hire a copywriter. While online video and audio is growing, the Internet is still 99.9799994392% text (don’t quote me on that). This gets overlooked incredibly often. You wouldn’t let a florist fix your car, so why leave your copy to someone who isn’t an expert?
  5. Always Be Testing (A/B or multivariate). Just because you’ve put your landing page up doesn’t mean the journey is over. This is only the beginning as now you have the fun job of refining and improving the page to eke out every 0.001% improvement in conversion rate. Test everything you can think of from colours, images, copy, fonts, forms, etc. but don’t go crazy. How much and how often you test can depend on how much traffic you get.
  6. Speaking of traffic, align your traffic acquisition tactics and creative with what your landing page. Probably the biggest contributor to bounce rate (a single page visit) and non-conversion is the web page meeting the promise of an ad, post, video, etc. It’s important that your website does what it says it does, without confusing or misleading your audience.
  7. Tell your story everywhere else. Keep your message platform agnostic and make sure it works across multiple touch points.

What do you think? What else should you do to keep your website relevant and convert traffic?

Read More ›

Why most web content sucks

Digital Strategy3 Comments

It’s often said that content is king. So why then do most businesses online presence fail precisely because they treat their content like the king’s poor idiot cousin?

Here are some thoughts why:

It’s an afterthought

A disproportionate amount of time gets spent on the design and function of a website instead of thinking through content requirements, site structure and navigation. Often it is only after a website/blog/social media profile is setup that creating content even enters into the equation. If design is what gets the audiences attention, it’s the content that makes them stick. Content and the related issues such as information architecture, site structure and functionality all need to be addressed early.

It’s created for marketing (not people)

While websites in and of themselves are a marketing tool, content needs to be aligned to user objectives. In short, stop thinking about content in terms of marketing and promotion but more informing and entertaining. The old saying people use the web to save time or waste time applies here.

It’s not optimised for the web

The web is not like any other environment (it’s save time or waste time, again) and you need to respect that. Think about all the good stuff like SEO, headlines, tags, links and appropriate writing for the web when you start preparing content. Whether you’re outsourcing your copywriting or doing it yourself, make sure you check out some of great resources on the web, such as Website Criteria and SEOmoz.

It’s too brief

While web content shouldn’t be vast, sprawling amounts of text, it also shouldn’t be too short. It seems like the conversational aspect of social media has almost become an excuse for content to be vague. Understanding your audience is key to giving them the information they need quickly and succinctly without having to navigate a plethora of pages.

It can’t be found and shared

Build it and they will come is definitely not how it works. If a wicked funny video gets created and no one watches does it really exist? With so much content floating around the webs, you need to give yours the best chance of not only being found but also being shared by your most loyal customers. Think SEO and SSO (Social Search Optimisation), RSS, platforms and basic sharing/interactive functionality.

No one is responsible

Someone in your organisation whether it’s big or small needs to be responsible for maintaining content whether it’s on your website, Facebook page or blog. Stuff goes out of date really fast on the web and you need to keep feeding it with interesting, relevant content otherwise your audience will simply stop paying attention and go elsewhere. Particularly in social media, there is so much else to do that it’s critical that you give your audience compelling reasons why they should follow you. Besides, nothing looks worse than a long forgotten Facebook page riddled with unanswered questions and spammy comments.

These are just some of my views. What do you think? What other common web content mistakes have you seen?

If you’re keen to find out more, Kristina Halvorson’s Content Strategy for the Web is a great place to start.

Read More ›

In the digital age, musicians must also be marketers

Digital Strategy, Music, Social Media13 Comments

It’s no secret that the music industry, more than others, was rocked by the astounding growth of digital. The new formats and methods of distribution (not to mention rampant piracy) turned the entire industry on its head.

While the major record companies and big acts such as Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails have figured out new models to succeed in a radically changed consumer environment, new artists are still struggling to figure things out.

For the most part, they remain focused on the traditional method of putting out demos and gigging until they get ‘discovered’ by a label. But in the wake of dwindling record sales, labels slashing rosters and doubling down on acts that are expected to have hits, opportunities for new and truly original artists have become scarcer and scarcer.

NERDSpeaking at the Midem music conference, NERD frontman, Pharrell Williams offered some advice for new artists, that new artists don’t need to be as reliant on a label to make it big if they know how to market themselves.

“I would probably build a site, a home for my music, a destination where people could come and see me and what I do and what I’m thinking about.”

“I would want to establish myself and show the world that I have interesting music, but I would create that world. The more dimension that you give your music and your website, the more creative it becomes.”

For new acts, there couldn’t be a better time to start taking control of their own destiny. You need only look at Lady Gaga to know there are now endless opportunities to get heard and be seen, all without the support of a label. The challenge is in being savvy enough and brave enough to get onto those digital channels, publish your content and start building a following.

Read More ›

Flipping the script on campaign websites

Digital Strategy, Social Media7 Comments

“Build it, and they will come”

Or at least that was the early thinking around websites. But what history has shown us is that just because you’ve built a website doesn’t necessarily mean anyone is going to come or give a crap.

Coke’s decision to abandon the tried-and-tested formula of building one-off campaign websites and driving traffic towards that with massive advertising campaigns is perhaps the best proof of that.

Instead, Coke will reinvest to expand their social media presence on YouTube and Facebook to go where the people are rather than forcing them to go to it.

Pardon the interruption

This is a great move by Coke.

Instead of having an expectation that customers will type in a URL to visit their site, they are going where their customers are already playing thus causing the least amount of interruption. It’s a sign of respect that Coke understands how their customers behave and are willing to play in there too rather than forcing customers to come to them.

The web also isn’t getting any less crowded with well over a bajillion sites (at a guess), a hefty portion of which probably lie dormant. Especially since most campaign-specific sites are typically neglected and rarely updated once a campaign has run its course. Sure there are long-tail benefits of having a campaign website, but it’s far more effective to be where your customers are.

It’s clear that there is some real strategic thinking on Coke’s part about how social media can deliver against their business objectives and that social is no longer a novelty but a serious marketing tool.

More bang for your buck

Also on a side note, if you want to talk about accountability (not that Coke need to watch their pennies), it seems to be a better allocation of Coke’s resources to focus on building lasting relationships on a relatively inexpensive platform rather than plow wads of dough into what will most likely amount to a temporary engagement.

N.B. I’m in no way saying you should abandon your main website in favour of a Facebook fan page. Having a website that you can call your own to illustrate who you are and how you think outside the confines of someone else’s platform is a critical part of any organisation’s digital strategy.

Read More ›